Though seemingly unconnected, the characters in HUMAN CROSSING all have something in common. They are dealing with the sometimes joyous, but often horrific realities of everyday life. Set in modern day Japan, this compilation of short stories explores the lives of people from all walks of life. The animation used here is subtle, with realistic renderings that fully express the range of emotions experienced by the film`s characters. HUMAN CROSSING taps into the dramatic potential of reality, focusing on the isolated, sometimes lonely nature of urban life. Ultimately, however, the film suggests that perhaps there is an inter-connectedness between people that binds even the most disparate strangers together.
Here's a riddle. What's an anime without fan service, chibis, colored hair, comedy, mystical weapons and cat girls? Not Human Crossing. What is an anime with stern old Japanese society with people having midlife crisis? Human Crossing.
There isn't a plot line to Human Crossing (Human Scramble). It's a series of short stories of normal people living, Japan. These stories vary from a boxer trying to fix his strained relationship with his mom to a woman being reunited with her deadbeat father, to the girl in a juvie camp who's trying to change her ways. Most of these vignettes deal mainly with issues you would
find in any society, but mainly Japan. These stories, are often mature, and dwell on the fact that this could be happening to anyone in real life. The problem is the stories are too real. There's no sense of comedy or climactic drama to these episodes. In reality, the only unreal thing that happens in Human Crossing is the fact that everything goes well for the protagonists in the end. In reality, things would not go right for a person trying to get their child back from their deceased boyfriend’s parents. If you're a person who prefers a comedic storyline or a sturdy plot, this is not for you. There are several bad and good episodes to this show. You could pretty much skip most of the episodes and watch episodes 1, 5, and 13 and not missed anything in the other episodes. These are the episodes that really brought in emotion and ended on a realistic note.
The art really is sub par. None of the animation stands out at all. At certain points the art looks the same. I swear some of the characters are reused. I could spot some characters being in other stories because of their character designs. Everyone looks like someone that you could see walking down the street, and while that adds a certain charm to the series, in reality it gets repetitive. You could blame this on the budget. More mature series like this tend to get a smaller budget due to its smaller audience.
The sound isn't terrible, but there is hardly any BGM at all. During the low points I would have expected maybe something more...sad? During the high points maybe something....at all?! It seems like the studio really cheaped out with this anime and didn’t even bother to license or make music for the show. The ending and opening intros are great and managed to capture my attention. The very moving song by Nana Katase along with a backdrop of Tokyo really got to me and really made me feel for a minute. I read the back of the DVD's and Ocean Studios made the dubbing. I swear I heard Vegeta somewhere in this anime. The dubs aren't terrible, but nothing special that stands out to me which is just as bad. This is an anime you should really just turn on the subs and watch it. I really wonder what went through Geneon’s mind when they decided to dub a show with almost no appeal.
The characters are where it largely varies. Some characters are completely forced, while some characters come off as completely natural. If it's something like "The Watershed" then we're talking about massive character emotions where you get a chance to feel for the characters, rather than just watching them. If we're talking "City" it's a yawn and a pass for the characters. The show heavily relies on the fact that you can feel empathy for people without knowing their complete back story. You have 25 minutes for character development, and not much else. You get to see characters deal with their problems in a sound way without the use of violence and such. Some would argue that this is considered boring, but this is the very definition of “totally not kids’ stuff” as Monica Rial would say. Whenever you ask your average anime fan why they watch anime they will typically respond with “anime has mature storylines that American cartoons don’t have”. Those same people will turn around and watch anime like Bleach and Kampfer and call that “mature”. Well I say fuck that, if you’re going to use that as a reason why Japanese cartoons are superior, you might as well watch a show like Human Crossing. It’s a show with a meaning and a moral behind it, and should really be more valued as a series.
Despite all of the negative points that I made about this series, this is a series you should definitely watch. If this show would have had more seasoned directors instead of directors who had never worked on anything before (and didn’t work on anything ever again). I actually showed this to my mom and she actually enjoyed it. I think you should really wait on this show if you’re still young (like I am) or are still enjoying series like Code Geass and Naruto as quality entertainment.